Men’s Golf: Williams leads Western Am; Hinsdale’s Lederhausen, Lincolnshire’s Watson bow out
Theodore Lederhausen of Hinsdale tees off during the 2012 Western Amateur Championship at Exmoor Country Club on Thursday. | Jon Durr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 7, 2012 2:58PM
HIGHLAND PARK — Of all the shots Chris Williams hit throughout Thursday’s 36-hole marathon at Highland Park’s Exmoor Country Club, the two-foot putt he made on the last hole for par was the highlight for him.
“I was not calm,” he said. “I tend to get nervous.”
A senior at University of Washington and native of Moscow, Idaho, Williams was able to wrangle his emotions enough to shoot 66-67 in the third and fourth rounds to earn medalist honors at the Western Amateur for the second consecutive year after a record-setting four rounds at 17 under.
The top 16 after 72 holes advance to Friday’s match play. The semifinals and final are Saturday. The cut this year was 8 under.
“Pretty darn good,” said Williams, who admitted to not being at his best entering the tournament. “I’m pretty happy with myself.”
Williams’ birdie on No. 9 started a run of four in a row and carried him past playing partner and runner-up Lorens Chan, an incoming freshman at UCLA and the youngest player on the course Thursday.
An 18-year-old, Chan posted rounds of 68-67 on Thursday to finish at 15 under. Jeffrey Kang, Justin Thomas and Abraham Ancer all tied for third at 12 under.
After winning stroke play a year ago, Williams promptly was ousted in the first round of match play by Patrick Cantlay.
“Obviously, last year I ran into a buzzsaw,” said the 21-year-old, in the field for a second time. “But it’s all about playing your game.”
Theo Lederhausen and Jack Watson both represented Illinois on Thursday. Neither one survived to match play.
Hinsdale’s Lederhausen, a rising junior at Harvard, tied for 41st at 2 under after rounds of 68-71-74-73.
Meanwhile, Watson, a Lincolnshire native, carded 70-73-78-72 to finish at 5 over.
“I was tense, and I didn’t hit it too well,” Lederhausen said. “I played solid, but I couldn’t get anything going. You needed to make birdies.”
An eight-man playoff for four spots in the Sweet 16 produced top contestants as well as a notable controversy.
Qualifying via their play were No. 15-ranked Cheng-Tsung Pan - Williams’ teammate at Washington and the Western Amateur medalist in 2009 and ‘10 - Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes, and North Florida’s Sean Dale. Richard Lamb of South Bend, Ind., and Pedro Figueiredo of Portugal received spots in the field after two Australian players were disqualified.
Daniel Nisbet, 20, of Caboolture qualified for the Sweet 16 by finishing stroke play at 11-under par but was disqualified when he caddied in the playoff for fellow countryman Matthew Stieger - a violation of the conditions of the competition. Stieger, 21, also was disqualified.
The rule sheet, which is distributed to all players when they register for the championship, says: “Players that have been eliminated (missed the cut or lost a match) from the tournament are allowed to caddie for a player still in the field. Players still competing for the Championship are not allowed to caddie for another player in the field. Penalty:Disqualification of both players.”
Rules officials observed Nisbet caddying for Stieger on the fourth playoff hole (No. 18) as Stieger competed against Figueiredo for the final spot, according to Vince Pellegrino, vice president of tournaments for the Western Golf Association.
With Nisbet and Stieger disqualified, Figueiredo and Lamb, who had been eliminated on the third playoff hole (No. 10), took their places in the Sweet 16.
Pellegrino said he was not aware of any other players in recent history having been disqualified for violation of the caddie rule. It is common to see players who have been eliminated from the competition caddying for teammates or friends.
“It’s an unfortunate circumstance, but it’s clearly stated in the rules,” Pellegrino said.
— Barry Cronin contributed to this story